Leeds-List: The Best & Most Insightful Guide to Leeds

40 Country Pubs Worth Leaving the City For

· Andrew Emery · Food and Drink

Pubs with character in the wilds of Yorkshire.

The Fountaine Inn

Some watering holes are so special, they’re more than worth the trip out of the city. These are the country pubs near Leeds to seek out and sup at.

When you’ve got the glories of God’s Own County on your doorstep, what could be better than a journey out to see it? A journey out to see it with a pub at the end, that’s what. Historical inns with old stories to reveal, classic pub grub and hand-pulled ales with views of rolling dales? Time to get out there and make the most of Yorkshire’s very best country pubs.

The Roebuck

The Roebuck

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Keep your eyes on the pies with a trip up to The Roebuck, high above Otley. The 18th-century building is stuffed with character, while outside is the picturesque hamlet of Newall with Clifton. They show a keen commitment to local suppliers, whether it’s beers from Saltaire and Black Sheep breweries, or beef from Rawdon. The latter can be found in their celebrated pies, such as the perfection of their slow-cooked steak and real ale number.

The Roebuck, 1 Roebuck Lane, Newall with Clifton, Otley, North Yorkshire, LS21 2EY.

The Boundary House

The Boundary House, Methley

If you’re lucky enough to live in Methley, then you have the perfect local in the form of The Boundary House. The rest of us are prepared to travel to it, however, as it combines a cracking range of craft beers with a cosy interior and extensive outdoor space, perfect for summer drinking. The food is superior here too, with the likes of Thai mussels, fish pie with parmesan mash and a generous Barnsley lamb chop on the menu.

The Boundary House, 24 Church Side, Methley, West Yorkshire, LS26 9EE.

The Fox & Hounds

Fox and Hounds

A truly lovely country pub in the heart of Yorkshire – Sinnington, near Pickering, to be precise – The Fox & Hounds gets the combination of chunky wooden furniture, roaring log burner and tartan accents just right. You’ll want to snuggle down for the afternoon with a pint of perfectly poured bitter, and perhaps a plateful of monkfish with battered cod cheek or maybe the local rabbit and partridge hot pot. Yep, the kitchen isn’t messing about here, either.

The Fox & Hounds, Main Street, Sinnington, York, North Yorkshire, YO62 6SQ.

The Fauconberg

The Fauconberg

You’ll be bowled over by this country pub that’s near enough to Leeds to become a semi-regular haunt. The stone-built facade hints at history – this has been a coaching inn since the 17th century – while stepping inside reveals wooden beams adorned with brasses, crackling log fires and flagstone floors. Get your chops around local beers, comforting pub grub and bask in the warm welcome you’ll receive from locals and landlady.

The Fauconberg, Thirsk Bank, Coxwold, North Yorkshire, YO61 4AD.

The Tan Hill Inn

Tan Hill Inn, Reeth, Swaledale

Perched 528 metres above sea level, The Tan Hill Inn is the highest pub in Great Britain. Happily, that’s not all it has going for it. It has the glory of the Yorkshire Dales all around it, a hug of a 17th-century building waiting to warm you after a long drive or a bracing hike. Get into the spirit of things with some ‘ales from the Dales’ and a choice from the reassuringly traditional pub menu. The pies, paired with mash and gravy, will warm your cockles.

The Tan Hill Inn, Long Causeway, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL11 6ED.

The Bull

The Bull

This pub is what an escape from the city is all about. One of the most handsome country pubs near Leeds, The Bull at Broughton is all stone floors, vintage furniture and open fires – it’s a pub that welcomes you with open arms. Grab a stool at the bar for cask ales, while wine drinkers will be in heaven – there are around 50 bottles on the list. Visiting on the weekend? Don’t miss the roast topside of beef or braised lamb shoulder, before walking it off in the Skipton surroundings.

The Bull, Broughton, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 3AE.

The Grouse Inn

The Grouse Inn

If you’re heading out to the Peak District, put The Grouse Inn into your sat-nav. Here, sat between Froggatt Edge and Longshaw, you can while away a whole afternoon just drinking in the views. It’s a family-run pub, stocked with hand-pulled real ales and the perfect place to fuel up before heading out for a hike – or to reward yourself for one completed. Treat yourself to a homemade Yorkshire pudding with either gravy or Stilton sauce, and enjoy your good fortune.

The Grouse Inn, Longshaw, Near Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S11 7TZ.

The Royalty

The Royalty

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Atop Otley Chevin, surrounded on all sides by the gorgeously rugged Chevin Forest Park, The Royalty sits proud and alone. The views are so clear and sensational up here that the car park is a hotspot for plane-watchers. There’s matters of more importance inside the pub though – well-kept beers and hearty food such as braised venison with savoy cabbage, plus pies to tuck into. If it’s sunny, head out the back, grab a bench and enjoy the vistas of the valley.

The Royalty, York Gate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3DG.

Shoulder of Mutton

Shoulder of Mutton, Kirkby Overblow

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Festooned with ivy, this magnificent stone pub in the impressively named town of Kirkby Overblow has the kind of twinkling interiors and warm lights that draw in travellers both weary and thirsty. A glorious exemplar of the Yorkshire country pub, this wins you over with pints of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord or Black Sheep, best supped in a seat near to the log burner. The kitchen leans on local produce, and the countryside around is spectacular.

Shoulder of Mutton, Main Street, Kirkby Overblow, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 1HD.

The Plough Inn

The Plough Inn

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What a sight this traditional Thwaites boozer is. A 17th-century inn that’s still packing them in today, The Plough Inn retains many of its original features, including the lovely old low-vaulted ceiling, while a roaring fire provides not just warmth but plenty of atmosphere too. Head there on a Sunday for a classic roast and all the trimmings, followed by quiz night, working your way through the Thwaites and guest cask ales.

The Plough Inn, Main Street, Burton Salmon, North Yorkshire, LS25 5JS.

The Fox & Grapes

The Fox and Grapes

A country pub only seven miles from Leeds? The Fox & Grapes shows just how close rural pubs are, a short drive to Thorner taking you to this welcoming local. It’s a great setting for a roast dinner – heck, they’ll top up your roast potatoes and Yorkies for free – or some sensationally sloppy burgers. The craft beer never disappoints, while wine drinkers will find treats like Chapel Down Bacchus and Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon on the menu.

The Fox and Grapes, York Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 4NJ.

The Three Acres

The Three Acres

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This arresting Pennine pub has been in the same family for over 50 years, and is imbued with Yorkshire personality. A carpet of countryside surrounds the small town on all sides, making it a great stop-off place when you’re out exploring. They’ll cheerfully pull you a pint, but this is also a sensational dining pub. Make a reservation for baked oxtail and beef shin pasty followed by cote de boeuf cooked over fire. The Sunday lunch is epic, as is the wine list.

The Three Acres, 37-41 Roydhouse, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD8 8LR.

The Cow and Calf

The Cow and Calf

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With its open fire, wooden beams, low ceilings and hearty menu, this pub seems to have been built out of the dreams of drinkers everywhere. It’s named for the famous stones that sit across the way on Ilkley Way, and provides respite after a day exploring the countryside – there are even snug rooms to bed down in. A pint of ale, a bowl of slow-cooked beef and porcini bourguignon and then back out in the beauty of Yorkshire – does it get any better?

The Cow and Calf, Hangingstone Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 8BT.

The Green Dragon Inn

The Green Dragon, Hawdraw

The best country pubs near Leeds transport you to another vibe entirely. So it is at the Green Dragon Inn, with an interior that seems to combine Hobbit home with a pub of yore. If you’re visiting Hardraw Force waterfall, you have to head through the pub, which seems like an invitation to perch on the wooden furniture and enjoy a famous pie – the steak and Wensleydale is the pick of them. See off a pint of ale in the 13th-century inn before venturing forth.

The Green Dragon Inn, Bellow Hill, Hardraw, Hawes, DL8 3LZ.

The Castle Inn

The Castle Inn

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A stone’s throw away from the castle it’s named after, Skipton’s The Castle Inn is all about the snug atmosphere, cask ales and no-nonsense food. They’ve usually got beers from the local Theakston range on – have one leaning over the fine mahogany bar, or find a quiet corner and sup at your leisure. Need some grub to go exploring on? Look no further than fish and chips from the Yorkshire coast or Dales sausages with creamy mash and red onion marmalade.

The Castle Inn, 2 Mill Bridge, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1NJ.

The Bingley Arms

The Bingley Arms

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Fancy drinking in some real history? The Bingley Arms is officially the oldest pub in Britain. Over 1000 years old, it even predates the first English King. You can see why it has lasted so long – it has a prime position next to a pretty stream, while features such as priest holes and a Dutch oven retain their charm. See off some Landlord or Ossett’s Yorkshire Blonde, while piling through a plate of five-hour braised lamb shank or a generous plate of gammon and eggs.

The Bingley Arms, Church Lane, Bardsey, West Yorkshire, LS17 9DR.

The Red Lion, Bramham

The Red Lion

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A no-messing country pub that’s surprisingly near to Leeds, this is an unpretentious watering hole that’s part of the Samuel Smith’s empire. That means lovely beers such as the Sovereign and Old Brewery bitters, plus organic lagers and wheat beers. Food – think hunter’s chicken, liver and onions – is the perfect foil to the ale. Enjoy them both at the riverside beer garden and then take a walk out into the verdant Yorkshire countryside.

The Red Lion, The Square, Bramham, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS23 6QU.

The Fountaine Inn

Fountaine Inn

Gasp-inducing Wharfedale Valley views, a whitewashed exterior next to an old-fashioned village green – The Fountaine Inn is a pub to be cherished. Cask ales might be from Thwaites or Hetton, food is crowd-pleasing plates like belly pork and burgers. Spill out onto the green, or gird yourself for a walk – Stump Cross Cavern and the dramatic Bolton Abbey are nearby. Want to push yourself a bit more? It’s a rewarding 8.5 miles to Cracoe Fell.

The Fountaine Inn, Linton-In-Craven, North Yorkshire, BD23 5HJ.

The Airedale Heifer

Airedale Heifer

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The Airedale Heifer has a lot going for it. A converted 17th-century manor house, with a spacious beer garden, it’s in the petite village of Sandbeds, an easy bimble from both Riddlesen and Crossflatts. They place great emphasis on local sourcing, from Haworth Gin to their very own Bridgehouse Brewery beer. From home-cooked pub grub to the galvanised heifer outside, it’s a pub that doesn’t place a foot wrong.

The Airedale Heifer, Bradford Road, Riddlesden, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 5LY.

The General Tarleton

General Tarleton Pub

With five AA stars for its food, there’s little doubt that The General Tarleton is one of the very finest country pubs near to Leeds. The pedigree is there too – it opened as a coaching inn during the 18th century and it’s still welcoming overnight guests today. You’ll rest well after exploring the surrounding countryside, drinking cask ales and cocktails, then dining on such delights as salt-aged Yorkshire duck or 52-hour slow-cooked pork belly with pig cheek. Yum.

The General Tarleton, Boroughbridge Road, Ferrensby, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 0PZ.

The Boathouse Inn

Boathouse Inn

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In as serene a setting as it gets – towering trees, ducks pootling about on the River Aire, a few steps from Saltaire – The Boathouse Inn is an inviting place to spend an afternoon or evening. Walk by the banks of the river, then dip into the sensitively restored 1871 building for drink and dining. Accompany your pint with something simple like pork pie and mushy peas – a steal at a fiver – or go for Punjabi-style curries or hale and hearty pies with chips or mash.

The Boathouse Inn, Victoria Road, Saltaire, West Yorkshire, BD18 3LA.

The Wellington Inn

The Wellington Inn, Darley

A country pub carving out a particularly impressive slice of Yorkshire for itself, The Wellington Inn is bordered by gorgeous greenery – you’re an enjoyable hike from Nidderdale. This doozy in the Dales is an old 18th-century coaching inn that still boasts cosy rooms, antique wooden furniture, a pool table and a fine line in beer. Sunday roasts are a thing of joy – beef, lamb and belly pork are all sourced locally, the steak and Black Sheep ale pie is an unctuous pleasure.

The Wellington Inn, Main Street, Darley, Harrogate, HG3 2QQ.

The Queens Arms

The Queens Arms Litton

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This ravishing 1630 building first opened as a pub in 1843. As it nears a double-century of serving pints and providing a roof for travellers and passers-by alike, one thing has remained the same – the to-die-for views of the Yorkshire Dales. Inside, it’s all stone-flagged floors and mullioned windows, while their own brewery, The Lamb, produces many of the beers on offer. Don’t miss the amazing lamb pie – slow-braised steak plus a whole minted cutlet inside the crust.

The Queens Arms, Litton, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 5QJ.

The Devonshire Arms

The Devonshire Arms

Bolton Abbey is one of the most enchanting areas to explore near Leeds, and happily it’s in a bit of Yorkshire chock-full of country pubs. The Devonshire Arms might be the best among them – and that’s before you get to the luxury hotel and spa attached. If you just want a drink, you’re more than welcome, while the food in both the Brasserie and Burlington restaurant are award-winning. Think truffled mac & cheese or venison loin.

The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey, Skipton, West Yorkshire, BD23 6AJ.

The Sun Inn

The Sun Inn

A wonder in the Washburn Valley, this 18th-century gem has just celebrated 250 years as an inn. Cyclists and walkers alike flock to it as a pitstop when roaming around the trio of nearby reservoirs, and the beautiful building is in perfect keeping with the scenery all around. Draught beers come courtesy of Theakston’s, Saltaire and Timothy Taylor, giant filled Yorkshire puddings will leave you stuffed, and there’s a popular carvery every Sunday.

The Sun Inn, Brame Lane, Norwood, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 1SZ.

The Craven Arms

The Craven Arms

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With its stone-flagged floors, open fires and – a real rarity – gas lighting, The Craven Arms feels like it has stood the test of time. And it has, this is a 16th-century building that welcomes walkers, cyclists, dogs and all into its brilliantly bucolic building in Wharfedale. They’ll pour you a pint of Old Peculier straight from the wooden cask, while there’s also Dark Horse on tap. Peckish? How many pubs can offer you homemade chorizo or bresaola from their own deli?

The Craven Arms, Burnsall, Appletreewick, West Yorkshire, BD23 6DA.

The Queen o’ t’ owd Thatch

The Queen o' t'owd Thatch

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This country pub encapsulates Yorkshire in its name alone, and is near enough to Leeds to make it a place you should definitely seek out. The roasts are so good they won The Observer Food Monthly’s award for best in the country, with meat sourced from Sykes House Farm. Pair a pint of Landlord or one of the extensive range of cocktails with roast beef, lamb, pork, turkey or veggie haggis and you’ll be treated to a Yorkshire pudding as big as your head.

The Queen o’ t’ owd Thatch, 101 High Street, South Milford, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS25 5AQ.

The Shibden Mill Inn

The Shibden Mill Inn

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Is there no end to the list of country pubs in Yorkshire? Not when you’ve haven’t had the pleasure of a session in The Shibden Mill Inn, there isn’t. A 17th-century mill lovingly converted into a pub in 1890, it’s not just nestled in the bloomin’ lovely Shibden Valley, it has a reputation for fab food. Sunday roasts include venison haunch and Waterford beef, while the a la carte menu is packed with treats like crispy pig’s head, BBQ pork tomahawk and poached halibut.

The Shibden Mill Inn, Shibden Mill Fold, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX3 7UL.

The Square and Compass

The Square and Compass

This stout stone pub is just minutes away from Almscliffe Crag, perfectly placed as a bolthole to take shelter from the elements on a hike. Or maybe you just fancy some brilliant beer and great grub? Either way, you’ll be able to enjoy cask ales from the likes of Leeds Brewery and Timothy Taylor’s paired with a menu that packs in a few surprises. Pizzas come topped with ‘nduja from Ilkley, stone bass is pan-fried and swims in a deep and delightful seafood broth.

The Square and Compass, North Rigton, Harrogate, West Yorkshire, LS17 0DJ.

The Kestrel

The Kestrel, Plompton

All is well with the world if you’re sat in the beer garden of The Kestrel on a bright day, admiring the greenery. If the weather is less kind, it’s no hardship to head inside for vintage wooden beams and open fires that will warm your soul. Order yourself a Doom Bar or a local real ale, then peruse the highly tempting menu. If it’s Sunday, the roasts are a must – the hand-carved turkey with pancetta crumb, roasties and all the sides is like Christmas dinner all year round.

The Kestrel, Plompton, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 8LY.

The Red Lion Hotel

Red Lion, Burnsall

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The Red Lion might be the most common pub name in the UK, but this one is far from being a run-of-the-mill boozer. This picturesque country pub is about an hour from Leeds – they’ve got rooms if you want to kip over – and sprawls over the interior of a 16th-century ferryman’s inn. It’s a Thwaites pub, so has their tremendous range of ales, and the worth-travelling-for food runs the gamut from baked camembert to hearty lamb hotpots and creative chicken ballotine.

The Red Lion Hotel, By the Bridge at Burnsall, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6BU.

The Lister Arms

The Lister Arms, Malham

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As pretty as a picture, The Lister Arms has an enviable location just a brief stroll from Malham Cove. This charming 17th-century coaching inn is still a pub with rooms, the ivy-clad exterior giving way to an inside full of snugs and cosy corners. In addition to the standard lager range, they’ve got a selection of Thwaites ales on cask, an extensive wine and gin list, plus pub food that’s far from run-of-the-mill. You’ll want to move in.

The Lister Arms, Malham, Near Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 4DB.

Dick Hudsons

Dick Hudsons, Bingley

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History in pub form, Dick Hudsons has evolved over several centuries from farmhouse to inn to pub, an imposing stone building that’s been a hostelry and a welcome stopping-off point for many a thirsty traveller. It’s still going strong today, backing onto the picturesque Rombalds Moor and offering cask Doom Bar and regional ales. The kitchen delivers stone-baked pizzas, steaks with beef dripping sauce and Sunday roasts that are ample reward for your journey.

Dick Hudsons, Otley Road, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 3BA.

The Rustic Arms

The Rustic Arms, Leeds

With a name like The Rustic Arms, you’d expect this country pub, a 40-minute drive from Leeds, to have bags of character. It doesn’t disappoint. It has a lovely outside area that helps it blends into the rural scenery, with fishing lakes twinkling in the near distance. Feast on hanging kebabs or steaks that go all the way up to a 40oz Tomahawk, then grab an outdoor bench to soak up the views with ales, cocktails and even an ice cream sundae if the weather is kind.

The Rustic Arms, 7 Long Lane, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, WF7 7EZ.

Birch Hall Inn

Birch Hall Inn, Beck Hole, Whitby

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The smallest inn in all of Yorkshire, Birch Hall might be tiny, but it definitely punches above its weight in terms of hospitality. It’s in the similarly minuscule hamlet of Beck Hole, about 10 miles from Whitby, close to waterfalls in this treasured part of God’s Own Country. Squeeze inside for local beers, pork pie and pickle, butties and, winningly, a little sweet shop for some pick and mix. Afterwards, stroll down to Goathland to stretch your legs.

Birch Hall Inn, Beck Hole Road, Beck Hole, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO22 5LE.

The Old Glen House

The Old Glen House, Baildon, Bradford

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The rugged beauty of Baildon Moor, a Yorkshire stone-built pub sat moments from Shipley Glen tramway, a dog-friendly welcome in a pub replete with wood-burning stoves – The Old Glen House ticks a lot of boxes. Stomach-filling food will heat up even the chilliest of walks – pies cooked with suet pastry, a steak night every Friday. Come on a Sunday and you can pair a rollickingly good roast dinner with a pootle down to Saltaire.

The Old Glen House, Prod Lane, Baildon, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD17 5BN.

The Sportsman’s Arms

The Sportsman's Arms, Wath-In-Nidderdale

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What must be one of the prettiest country pubs in Yorkshire, The Sportsman’s Arms is huddled in the Nidderdale Valley, close to Pateley Bridge. You’ll be tempted to stay, what with the four-poster beds that are hidden upstairs, but even if you’re just dropping in for a drink you’ll be in pub heaven. Visitors head here from all corners for the food – loin of Yorkshire venison, roast grouse, king scallops with chorizo – which is better than it has any right to be.

The Sportsman’s Arms, Wath-In-Nidderdale, Pateley Bridge, Near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 5PP.

The Falcon Inn

The Falcon Inn, Arncliffe

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The first pub to ‘play’ The Woolpack in Emmerdale, The Falcon Inn is a diamond in the Dales all dressed up in ivy. It may not have been in the soap since 1975, but it’s still a perfect pub sat in the small village of Arncliffe, close to the River Skirfare. The small bar is decorated with old-fashioned dimpled pint glasses, all of them waiting to be filled with pints of Tetley’s or Timothy Taylor, while the kitchen trots out home-cooked pub food.

The Falcon Inn, 2 Castle Yard, Arncliffe, Skipton, BD23 5QE.

The Bull Inn

The Bull Inn

A winner of ‘Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub’, The Bull Inn is a Theakston’s house set in the landscape that inspired many of JMW Turner’s paintings. It’s a 17th-century inn close to the Ripon Rowel and Way of the Roses, ideal if you can tear yourself away from the convivial pub itself. Settle down in the dark-wood interior and try their hand-pulled Old Peculier, Lightfoot or XB on for size. Food tends to be locally sourced – sausages from Masham, chicken from Nidderdale.

The Bull Inn, Church Street, West Tanfield, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 5JQ.

The New Inn

The New Inn, Appletreewick

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Looking out across the Yorkshire Dales, The New Inn in Appletreewick is a gem of a country pub. Stunning views are paired with a warm welcome for humans and dogs alike. Enjoy tipples like local real ale, wine or spirits at the bar, but you should come hungry too. A menu of hearty pub grub is put together with local produce and organic veggies grown in their own garden. Fallen in love with the place? You can reserve one of six rooms, all with en-suites.

The New Inn, Main Street, Appletreewick, West Yorkshire, BD23 6DA.